Sex-specific associations between maternal exposure to parabens, phenols and phthalates during pregnancy and birth size outcomes in offspring

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  • Cecilie S Uldbjerg
  • Lim, Youn-Hee
  • Marianna Krause
  • Hanne Frederiksen
  • Anna-Maria Andersson
  • Elvira V. Bräuner

Current evidence on the effects of prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals on birth size remains largely inconclusive. We aimed to investigate sex-specific associations between maternal exposure to parabens, phenols and phthalates during pregnancy and birth weight, length and head/abdominal circumferences. We performed a prospective study of 88 pregnant women who underwent amniocentesis in the period 2012 to 2014. Maternal urine samples were collected during pregnancy in weeks 12 to 36 (median: 18 weeks). The concentrations of parabens, phenols and individual phthalate diester metabolites were analyzed by isotope-diluted liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and osmolality adjusted. Linear regression models estimated the associations between urinary levels of selected compounds (tertile(T2-T3) medium/high versus T1 low exposure) and birth size, stratified by offspring sex. A total of three parabens, two phenols, four individual phthalate metabolites and four sums of diester metabolites were detectable above limits of detection in at least 60% of urine samples. Overall, we observed few statistically significant associations, but medium/high exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) in male offspring was associated with statistically significant lower birth size across most outcomes [birth weight: -428 g (95% CI -756 to -99.4); birth length: -1.76 cm (95% CI -3.28 to -0.25); abdominal circumference: -1.97 cm (95% CI -3.55 to -0.39)]. Similarly, medium/high exposure to methyl paraben (MeP) in male offspring was associated with lower birth weight (-661 g, 95% CI -1251 to -70.7) and length (-3.11 cm, 95% CI -5.76 to -0.46) compared to low exposure. None of these associations were statistically significant in female offspring. Across all compounds, individual exposures were associated with more negative estimates of birth weight for male than for female offspring. Our study indicates that prenatal exposure to BPA and MeP may negatively affect birth size outcomes, with a possible sex effect. Given the small sample size, these findings need to be replicated in future larger studies.

TidsskriftThe Science of the Total Environment
StatusUdgivet - 2022

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Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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